Life is designed to work and you have to do something wrong to mess that up. If you don’t have open doors, there is usually a reason. If you can’t keep a job, there is usually a reason. If you don’t have friends, there is usually a reason. It is almost always found in how we treat people. Do we keep our word? Do we hustle or take advantage of people? Sometimes the reasons are clear. You aren’t nice to people, You take more than you give, You don’t keep your word, You are not always honest You only show genuine interest in people when they can do something for you. All of this is a reflection of your core values. This is where your ethics are seen. The dictionary defines Ethics as:
The rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human action, or a particular group or culture.
Moral principles as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence.
That branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to values of rightness and wrongness of certain actions and the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.
How ethics are formed In 2 Peter 1:5, the bible would call it Virtue. It is something that you add to your life. It is the quality to do what is right. It is an understanding that your life functions in concert to others. It is the rules of fair play. It is also a sense that everything is going to work out if you do what is right. There is not a need to cheat, manipulate or control. You trust the system that God established and determine to operate within its boundaries. Ethics start in the home and as we grow, it extends to our relationships, to our spouse, children, work and market place. Ethical values are bred into the lives of our children and become the road map for their lives. The old saying is true, “values are caught more than taught”. That is where it starts. Unfortunately many people live their whole lives through and never stop taking advantage of the people they come in contact with. Children are raised to be the only child in the room. They are spoiled in the sense that courtesy is not introduced to them during the formative years of their childhood. It doesn’t help that they also see selfishness and fear modeled in the way their parents conduct themselves when the pressure is on them. They lie, steal and hide. They don’t act as if they have to play by the rules. Many children are never introduced to the concept of sportsmanship or fair play. That is of course unless they are winning; they lack the confidence and maybe the talent to be the better player, but are determined to receive the gold medal even if they have to break the rules to get there. This is many times supported or even pushed by their parents. This helps produce a laziness that leans to an unscrupulous lifestyle. Successful companies are known for their strong ethics and commitment to excellence and customer relations. The only thing that will make you stand behind your word when it will cost you money is ethics. Ethics when walked out is described as character and integrity. We are creatures of ethics … that live in a society of ethics. You cannot make a decision or create an action without expressing your ethical standing. Through ethics, we express the worth of the person that we are dealing with, at least in our eyes. And thereby express our code of conduct based on those ethics. The value that we place on others determines our level of respect, manners and courtesy. Ethics are everywhere. In every civilization there is a framework for the lifestyle and decisions of its people. We may have educational and social diversity, yet ethics still exist between us, whither in the kings palace or in a gang. Ethics rule. Those who are considered “unethical” are pushed away from society. The bible is a book of ethics. If you violated these laws, you could be stoned or put out of the camp. Even Paul in the New Testament said: 14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. KJV 2 Thess 3:14-15 The reason is that the loss of ethics results in anarchy and ciaos. Ethics protect your ability to flow with other people Ethics are codes of conduct that we follow out of our heart to please God and live in concert with our fellowman. They are a standard of right and wrong that we derive from Jesus’ message – LOVE GOD…LOVE OTHERS. If you use that as your standard, your ethics will stay in good shape. We see a breakdown in ethics when the focus becomes “self”. Ethics are both the act of treating people like you want to be treated and understanding spirituality authority and our connection and responsibility to each other. You almost always violate ethics when you ignore the principle of submission to one another by taking things into your own hands rather than trusting the Lord with your decisions. There is a code of ethics that apply to every area of your life. Your spouse, your job, your children, your ministry and relationship to God. In our relationship with God, we call an ethics violation “sin” and repent for it. In the other areas of our lives, I believe it is still sin and also needs to be repented of. To conduct yourself in a way that is unethical will plant a seed that will always produce a harvest. It is a conduct that will take you someplace you never intended to go and make you look like you never wanted to look. No one starts out being unethical, but compromises, justifications and self-will can take you there. It will almost always leave someone hurt. You must determine in advance what kind of a person you are going to be. If you don’t make a decision in advance, when you are faced with the temptation or opportunity you may not make the right choice. Core Beliefs and our Conscience Ethics are responses from our core beliefs to things that become “out of balance” with what is right. My core beliefs identify the decisions that I need to make in my life. I disallow an action because “something” in me recoils. That “something” is my core value. The recoiling is simply the response to that which crosses the boundaries that my Core Values have built. For instance, having integrity is one of my core values. As a result, an alarm goes off when I am faced with an opportunity to compromise my integrity. With that in place, most of my decisions are already made. I don’t have to think about being honest. It is a natural response because it springs out of my Core Values. To be dishonest, I have to go against the grain and close my ears to the voice of my spirit. Reason is the voice of my mind, feeling is the voice of my body and conscience is the voice of my spirit. So how do people lose their way? We all know good people, godly people who have fallen into immorality or dishonesty. They didn’t start out that way, but their conscience was seared. How does that work? If you have ever ironed a crease into a pair of pants, you know how easy it is to get the crease wrong and add another crease. Each time you go over the new crease, the old crease begins to disappear until finally you can’t see the old one. When the boundaries of our conscience are breached time and again, we tend to lose our way. And things that use to bother us don’t even show up on our radar screen. Paul used the term, “having your conscience seared”.
1 Tim 4:1-2 - KJV Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
The people he is referring to in this scripture yielded to seducing spirits and spoke lies until their conscience was seared. The guide of their conscience began to vanish. That old crease or image was replaced by another. Watch out for signs of imbalance in your life. Selfishness, lying, complaining, stealing, manipulation. Ethics is your moral compass that leads you through these rough waters. Now is the time to define your core values. Decide who you are. This is where you ethics are seen. You won’t have to think about being kind or honest or mannerly. You also won’t have to look for friends because they will be there.
Dr. Jerry Edmon